Sunday, February 9, 2014

How Do You Make It Work ?

With all of our modern distractions, how is it possible to sustain a long term relationship?  This goes for any couple, married or otherwise.

I was in a supermarket recently and saw a young couple doing their shopping together.  They had a grocery cart filled with mutual home item needs, yet the woman seem more interested in the experience than the guy.  While I was grabbing the few items I needed, I noticed  he was quick to start walking away from her, not really giving her an explanation as to why he was walking away.  It was a bit awkward to be honest.  She quickly regained some dignity by telling him she was going to be in another department.  I would venture to say she was a bit hurt by the whole exchange, judging by her body language and tone in her voice.  It made me think about what I usually ask my coupled up friends – how do they make things work in their relationship?  Even in instances as small as grocery shopping together.   I am a firm believer in comparing and contrasting experiences with other people because it is one way to learn more about yourself and your situation.  I’m not saying that you should always compare yourself and your relationships to others because that isn’t healthy.  But hey, if couple X makes special time for adventure instead of the usual go-to Netflix weekends – why not make a consideration?

What does it mean to make time for adventure?  Adventure can be as grand as multiple vacations through out the year or as simple as date nights, dance lessons, wine tasting – whatever makes sense for the two of you.  Of course life and its complications can add reasons to make you say things like, “well, not this month” or “not this year” – that’s another unrealistic roadblock.  If it’s finances that are holding you back, look into where you are spending your money.  Plan a budget at the start of each year, quarter, month and week  – if you aren’t that anal, creating a budget each month helps in planning some fun.  You will be surprised at how much you can save when you maintain an accurate budget.   There are a lot of great local things to try in most areas, especially if you live close to a metropolitan area.  There are various sites that offer ideas and coupons; just be sure to check reviews and leave reviews.    If it’s children that hold you back, work with other families that you trust to swap out babysitting duties.  It is a great low cost (if not free) idea that works for short term.  Try to not take advantage of others’ time.  It’s not right and not fair.

What if your adventure is just making time for each other?  That genuine friendship between two people, the talking, sharing and emotionally giving time?  As much as I love to be out on the town, listening to live music and dancing, I do enjoy the more quiet types of adventure.  Walking along the beach together, quiet dinners for two in dimly lit restaurants – you know, all the super romantic stuff.  I love the intimacy and getting to know more about your partner.  There are things about them that don’t change but there are a lot of things that do change as time goes on and they go through different experiences,  and it is important to keep the dialogue open, constructive and positive.  You fell in love with him or her for a reason and in 60 years, you will want to be able to readily list those reasons as to why you are still together.  Plus it is always good to share those reasons with each other.

Whether you have been together, married, living together – whatever – for 5 minutes or 5 years find out your dynamic and feed it.  Don’t let the, “oh, we can do it next month” create gaps.  Life is too short waiting for tomorrow, next month or next year.  Appreciate the time you have together now, and make the most of every moment.  Technology has caused us to not appreciate spoken word, written language, and palpable emotions in others.  We are forever waiting for that next second impulse or tone from our handheld devices to alert us of how we should feel for that brief moment.  Take the time to turn things off, set the mood and get back to what’s important:  finding what makes things work.

What are some ways you build your relationship that actually works?  What are things that you have tried that ultimately failed?

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